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Redmond Regional Medical Center
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Other Treatments for Multiple Myeloma

Peripheral Stem Cell Transplant

Resistent, recurring, or advanced multiple myeloma can significantly reduce the number of healthy blood cells in the marrow. Chemo- and/or radiation therapy treatment can destroy the healthy cells in the bone marrow. The loss of these cells will reduce the immune system's ability to fight infections or disease and lead to life-threatening infections.

A peripheral stem cell transplant uses healthy stem cells (immature, unformed cells) from the circulating blood in your body or a donor to restore normal blood cell function. The cells travel to bone marrow sites throughout the body and slowly repopulate numbers of red or white blood cells, or platelets. If the transplant is successful, the newly injected cells should be free of cancer and capable of producing healthy cells.

In most cases, a peripheral stem cell transplant is autologous, that is the healthy stem cells are harvested from the patient's own body. They are extracted from circulating blood. Circulating blood removed from the body is spun in a machine to separate the components in a process called apheresis. The blood is then circulated back into the body. The stem cells are frozen until all malignant myeloma cells are eliminated by chemo- or radiation therapy. Lastly, the healthy stem cells are returned to the body to repopulate the blood cell count.

Allogeneic, or stem cells from a donor, are generally not used to treat multiple myeloma. However, they may be considered for those participating in clinical trials.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied
  • Review Date: 03/2016 -
  • Update Date: 05/13/2016 -
  • Multiple myeloma. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003131-pdf.pdf. Accessed May 13, 2016.

  • Multiple myeloma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 7, 2016. Accessed May 13, 2016.

  • Multiple myeloma. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/plasma-cell-disorders/multiple-myeloma. Updated August 2013. Accessed May 13, 2016.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Redmond Regional Medical Center does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.